A rubber electrolyte. (Photo: Lee)

While another year of Tech Briefs news stories has come and (just about) gone, it’s time to look at our most-read articles of 2022. The most-clicked stories include a battery breakthrough made from rubber, clearing dust from solar panels without water, a method for measuring 20 million volts, and much more.

See 2022’s top-performing stories below. And thank you for another year of loyal readership. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

10: With Functional Fibers, A Shirt Becomes a Valuable Microphone

A fabric behaves like a fluid, which explains perhaps why designers often even refer to the “flow” of a garment. A team from multiple universities has made a material that catches those tiny waves.

9: An Insect-Inspired Approach to Anti-Bacterial Surfaces Takes Wing

Engineers from RMIT University are making anti-bacterial surfaces that resemble the wings of a cicada or dragonfly. Like the insects, the RMIT-developed material has tiny nanopillars that rupture and kill bacterial cells. The disinfection process requires surface modification, and no drugs or chemicals, limiting the bacteria’s ability to adapt or develop resistance.

8: Who Won 'Best of Innovation' at CES 2022?

When it's time to select the "Best of Innovation" products at CES, where do the judges begin exactly? How do you decide that an autonomous tractor is more innovative than, say, a humanoid robot? Or a health-monitoring wearable? Or a VR headset meant for the metaverse? One CES attendee had a guess at the criteria.

7: Is LiDAR Necessary for Autonomous Vehicles?

In April of 2019, one particular piece of technology felt intentionally left out of Tesla’s first “Autonomy Day” event. Taking questions from the press, Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk warned the crowd about self-driving cars that rely on LiDAR. “LiDAR is a fool’s errand,” Elon Musk said. “Anyone relying on LiDAR is doomed.”

6: How to Measure 20 Million Volts

A solution to a decades-old problem for operators of high-energy particle accelerators was solved with a pie in the sky discussion that led to thinking outside of the box.

5: Internal Combustion vs. Electric Vehicles: Do the Same Design Rules Apply?

It’s not a stretch to call the 2020s a decade of electrification. According to projections, 30 percent of cars and light commercial vehicles are projected to have fuel cells or be classified as battery-electric or plug-in hybrid. In 2020, buses have already reached a fair amount of electrification: 33 percent.

Image of an “e-powertrain” in simulation. (Photo: Siemens)

4: EV vs. ICE: How Does Wire Harness Design Differ?

The car is becoming a kind “smartphone on wheels” according to an industry expert from Siemens. And a 65-mile-an-hour phone requires a greater number of electronic control units.

3: 3 Challenges with Hydrogen Powered Engine Adoption

The hydrogen fuel cell generates electricity through an electromechanical reaction, not combustion. The energy, typically stored in onboard batteries, powers the electric traction motors on the vehicle.

2: How to Clear Dust from Solar Panels (Without All the Water)

“The water footprint of the solar industry is mind boggling. So, the industry has to be very careful and thoughtful about how to make this a sustainable solution.”

1: A Battery Breakthrough, Made from Rubber

An everyday material that we all know well may lead to safer, longer-lasting batteries for the electric vehicle.

Which Tech Briefs ‘Top’ Story stands out to you? Share your thoughts below.